The iPhone SE, the irregular iPhone
John Gruber, on Daring Fireball, on why the “special edition” explanation makes a lot of sense for the “SE” letters of the newest, second-generation iPhone SE:
What makes “special edition” apt for the two iPhones bearing the SE name is the way they differ, strategically, from regular edition iPhones.
Regular edition iPhones are numbered. Yes, that’s not quite true of the primordial models. The 2007 original iPhone was just “iPhone”, and the “3G” in the second and third models stood for the cellular networking technology. But starting with the iPhone 4, regular edition iPhones have all been numbered. Higher-numbered iPhones both look new on the outside and offer improved technology on the inside.
The iPhone SE’s are special editions because they fall outside this continuum.
On the same article, he also mentions something about the first-generation iPhone:
I didn’t go with the SE as my personal carry in 2016, but I was tempted, and enamored as soon as I got my hands on my review unit. No camera bump! It stood up!
I opened my review of the 2016 SE with this quote:
“Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.” —Obi-Wan Kenobi
In 2017, I had to finally say goodbye to my iPhone 5 from 2012 and I seriously considered the iPhone SE. The “no camera bump” part was indeed very interesting to me: I think the iPhone 5 design — reused for the 5S and for the SE — was in 2017 not only the best iPhone design, but also the best smartphone design. I would have bought the iPhone SE in 2017, if the 16 GB entry level had not eventually pushed me to buy a similarly-priced Huawei P9, which had an amazing black and white camera, and a lot more storage.